Double Or Nothing

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

Galatians 6:2

When you look at the world today what do you see? I have spent this last month visiting an elderly husband and wife who each had been taken by ambulance to the hospital. During their hospital stay they lost their apartment and now find themselves living in two separate assisted living facilities located in different cities while they wait to be placed in a home together. This couple’s only means of communication is the phone. Thank God they are able to talk to each other almost daily. I have watched for myself the positive impact that being able to hear each others voices and words of affirmation have had on each of their lives, lessons the Lord would want you and me to learn too.

In Romans 12:15 the apostle Paul gives us some instruction as to how each of us should approach our day. He writes, “Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.” In other words, share life with other people as when we do we not only help them enjoy their celebrations all the more and help make the bad days each of us experiences from time to time not so bad. When this couple was isolated and alone their physical and mental as well as their spiritual health seemed to be in decline but as soon as they were able to talk by phone and provide some comfort and assurance to each another, to share life together again their condition began to improve.

As I watch this couple a story I read about two men who shared a hospital room comes to mind. Both men up in age with no family to visit them they shared life together talking about days gone by, about family, about being kids and life growing up. The elderly man next to the window was able to sit up whereas the man in the bed further away had to lay flat on his back. One day as the man near the window was sitting up the man who was lying flat on his back asked his roommate what he could see out the window. The man began to share of some of life’s most beautiful scenes. He said there was a beautiful park with a lake and trees where people would walk, picnic and ride their bikes. Every day the man would take time to make sure he shared something beautiful with his friend who could not sit up in bed. This went on daily for a couple of months until one morning the nurses came in to find the man near the window had passed away quietly in his sleep the night before.

After the hospital staff came a removed the elderly mans’s body from the room the nurses asked the other patient if he would like to have them move his bed next to the window so he could see out. Though he was sad at the loss of his friend he thought being near the window and able to see all that his friend had described would cheer him up. Once his bed was in place the nurse raised him up so he could see out the window and when he looked out for the first time all he saw was the side of the building next door. His hospital window faced a blank wall. Stunned and frustrated the elderly man said, “for months he described the most beautiful things there are to see and he did it with such detail. Why would he have done that when there is nothing but a blank wall out there?” The nurse said, “I suppose he was just trying to cheer you up. You mean he never told you that he was blind and unable to see a thing?”

As I read that story the apostle Paul’s words from Romans 12:15 played over in my mind. We have a responsibility to one another to share in both the good times and the bad. I have a quote saved on my computer that says, “Happiness when shared with others is doubled” and the opposite can be just as true, “Sorrow when shared with others is cut in half.” Today you and I have the ability to share in other peoples joys with the hopes of multiplying their happiness and maybe, just maybe God might use us to cut the sorrows of others in half.

Here’s a great question to ask God and ourselves today, “how can I heighten the high or lesson the low of those I meet today?” What we see out the window might make all the difference in how others see the day too!

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Proverbs 18:21


Michael Osthimer





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